Life is a gift! Sometimes, due to our own choices, the decisions of loved ones, or due to a major grief event, it may not feel like a gift at times.
Life is a gift, though, that offers so much…if we will only to choose to unwrap it daily.
Throughout life, we each have to look in the mirror and come to terms with what we choose/chose to do with the gift life has to offer —past, present, and future.
No one has a goal of looking in the mirror…at any point…and saying to the reflection staring back at them, “I sure am grateful I wasted time and opportunities! I just love that I allowed others to defeat my heart…and I love the awful consequences I’m experiencing because of my ridiculous choices…I am so thrilled with the pain my choices have brought upon my loved ones…or I’m so happy I allowed myself to be defeated by grief or life challenges.
Nobody in their right mind would say or want to admit these things…
…yet so many of the regrets and guilt we face in life can be prevented. We have a powerful opportunity each and every day to purposely ask important life questions that can bless our life choices.
We each have the powerful ability to create a great life…a life we love to live each day – regardless of circumstances.
Everybody will go through multiple grief experiences and hardships, some even self-inflicted, throughout their lifetime.
Some grief experiences are natural to go through in life, while others are due to foolish or unthought out decisions by us or others.
Some people were gravely warned by loved ones to not make the choices they made; others had no training in life and genuinely had no one to care about their life choices. Some had a pretty big inkling their choice wasn’t wise…but they wanted what they wanted at the time. Some were blindsided. Some knew better; others truly didn’t.
Just because someone has made a poor choice doesn’t mean they’re disposable or not redeemable – and it doesn’t mean they are doomed to have a terrible life. I think when people make poor choices, that’s when they need encouragement the most! A setback is the perfect time to purposely setup and create a better life!
A G-R-E-A-T life!
Everybody has a unique opportunity each morning: they have the amazing ability and gift of making better decisions – so they can start making choices that truly count from this day forward.
As a grief specialist, I hear story after story after story of hardships people go through…stemming from “life” happenings, as well as their own choices, and also the decisions of others. I constantly try to help each person find the genuine healing they so desperately need. Once they find out how to heal and create a better life—a life they can truly enjoy living—their entire existence transforms.
Changing one’s life for the better is a process of asking one’s self the right questions so they can begin to make good decisions in response to those questions.
Just like grief is never a cookie cutter experience, life is never a one-size-fits-all experience either. Each person’s life is as unique as they are.
Making solid decisions takes practice and a lot of cultivating, digging, growth, and nurturing of one’s heart and thoughts. All change initially begins as a solid decision…and then blossoms into a series of good, solid choices that continually need to be chosen on an ongoing basis. After awhile, the good choices develop into better choices, and then the better choices turn into the best choices.
Remember: this is your personal life journey between you and God. Each question will reveal a highly personal, customized answer.
Here are some of my favorite questions I ask myself so I can make wise decisions, learn more each day, and continue to make the best possible choices everyday:
•What can I do today to purposely grow my relationships with God and my family so these relationships are the strongest and healthiest they can be?
•What can I purposely do, or not do, so I don’t waste my day or waste my time?
•What do I need to prevent doing today so I can grow more and live life to the fullest?
•Who can I show love, mercy, and compassion to today? Who do I need to show empathy for by seeing life through their eyes? (For ideas: https://griefbites.com/2014/10/18/7-things-to-realize-about-someone-going-through-a-hard-time/ )
•What one dream or goal can I work toward (or continue to work toward) today?
•Who can I help to be successful today?
•What one purpose-filled action today would make me live life as lovingly and vibrantly as possible?
•What one choice today would bring me the most healing—spiritually, emotionally, and physically?
•How can I purposely grow through my current (and past) grief/life challenges?
•What one thought today could override as much negativity as possible?
•Who can I choose to bless today in a way that would make the greatest difference in their life?
•What one foolish habit or sin can I purpose to avoid and overcome today to bring the most spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical wellness to me and my loved ones?
•What one person do I need to forgive today to lighten my heart? (Read this if you have been deeply wounded: https://griefbites.com/2015/04/20/wounded-7-steps-to-free-your-soul/ )
•What one person do I need to apologize to and ask to forgive me?
•What topic or situation do I need to give to God and come to peace about today…what do I need to make right, cultivate, “let go” of, or remove to have optimal peace and joy? What do I need to change or accept so I can have peace?
•What one piece of wise advice can I take to heart today that has the capacity to change my life for the better? (This can either be past advice or recent advice)
•What one improvement (big or baby step) can I make today that I can be proud of?
•After deeply thinking about my everyday and longterm choices, and truly considering the present and future impact of those choices—as well as the consequences or blessings that can/will come into my life from my decisions—what do I need to do, or not do, today to prevent any future guilt, regrets, or damage?
•Who needs to hear me say, “I love you!” today? How can I love others better today than I did yesterday?
•Who can I show genuine appreciation to today? Who needs to hear me say, “Thank you!”?
•What one regret do I need to forgive myself for and let go of today? (Read here to find help for regrets: https://griefbites.com/2014/10/26/overcoming-regrets/ )
•What one topic will be the most beneficial to pray, journal, or blog about today?
•What one physical and/or mental exercise will offer the most stress reduction today?
•What one character quality can I learn about, develop, and work on today? (I focus on one character quality exclusively each week and seek to continually improve each quality thereafter…you can find ideas here: https://griefbites.com/2014/07/01/conflict-resolution-pt-3-75-character-qualities-that-can-change-your-life/ )
•How can I best love, serve, and delight in God today? How can I grow my friendship with Him? He’s the ONLY relationship on earth that we can NEVER lose…this is SO important! ( Please feel free to read this for encouragement: https://griefbites.com/2016/12/30/making-2017-your-best-year-yet-43-ways-to-delight-in-god/ )
All of these questions are for the purpose of creating the best life possible—even in spite of grief—and preventing future guilt and regrets. Each question has the powerful ability to better one’s life and to offer encouragement to live well.
What questions stuck out most to you? What resonated with you the most?
You can ask yourself one of these questions each day or all of them. It is so important to grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and in wellness every single day. Whether you take baby steps or an “all in” approach, it is always wise to continually better yourself and allow God to work mightily in your heart and life.
Why not make a list of your own questions to ask yourself and commit to growth every single day? What does life look like for you today? By making changes, choosing to change your thoughts for the better, or cultivating your heart, what can life look like for you in 1 month…1 year…5 years…10 years…or even 20 or more years?
We all have such phenomenal value and I think we sometimes forget or fail to fully realize that. We also forget to realize how powerfully God can use our lives to make a difference in our loved ones lives, as well as in the world.
Wishing everybody special times of self-reflection, making wise choices and changes, preventing guilt, potential damage, and regrets – and living life to the fullest!
Gratitude and many blessings,
©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
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